Our self-identity is what makes us stand out positively or negatively in this crowded world. What if we mould our identity based primarily on our profession? What if we shape our identity based on people around us or on other external factors and completely lose sense of our unique self?

This is where things can go wrong for many people because you no longer know who you really are, what your values and beliefs are. When you start relying on the aforementioned external factors to form your self-identity, only a little needs to go wrong for you to feel lost, depressed and confused about who you actually are!

According to Prudy Gourguechon of Forbes more than 10,000 people over the age of 65 are facing an identity crisis every day primarily because after retiring from employment, many individuals have nothing to hold on to as their identity as they had formed their self-identity based on their profession for most part of their life. This leads to increased frustrations, regrets and conflicts within the self as to who a person really is.

For example, forming your self-identity based on your profession may pigeon hole you with an image that is not totally you, and which is probably alike with countless other professionals in your field, thereby, losing all your oneness. This is where you need your unique self-identity to aid you in building a strong personal brand that you can rely upon to get you through both the good and bad times in life. 

Structured personal branding can result in an authentic, recognised and powerful personal brand, which helps to position you and tell people more about who you holistically are than just what your profession is.

Developmental Psychologist Erik Erikson has said that the formation of an identity is one of the most essential parts of an individual’s life. The formation of an authentic, independent and unique self-identity is essential if you are to identify yourself beyond your profession.

The importance of an authentic personal branding system.

Source- Image Group International

Many people tend to get confused about their self-identity with that of group identities that they form over a period of time be it in their professional or personal life. It is easy for individuals to drift off into group identities and lose their unique self-identity especially if they are not confident enough to develop their own. From my experience, this is a high risk scenario.

Joining groups is fine and is encouraged as long as you know yourself first. Knowing exactly who you are will make sure you still have a strong personal brand of your own no matter which group you belong to. A structured personal branding system can help you to hold on to or even re-create your self-identity and truly allow your personal brand to flourish in an authentic, recognised and powerful manner.

Moreover, researcher James Marcia, has commented that we choose and commit to our self-identity from a pool of different kinds of identities. Most individuals will go through different variations of their unique self-identity during different stages of their life. It is absolutely normal to have changes to your self-identity at different stages because you will not be the same person throughout your life.

It is important that you do not allow your personal brand to be devalued by forming your self-identity as someone you are not.

Even during the unavoidable life changes, it is essential to be your true authentic self and form your self-identity around that. Therefore, you need to be better acquainted with yourself and understand what truly gives you joy, claims your passionate attention and empowers you. This will help you in forming an authentic and powerful self-identity. A powerful self-identity combined with structured personal branding results in empowering an individual in a way that will make them stand out in a competitive, noisy and disruptive world.

An unique self-identity combined with a structured personal branding system are the powerful tools that will guide you through both good and bad times and help you make correct, responsible and educated decisions. Do not try to be someone you are not, start being yourself and look at the value of your personal brand expand in the process.

Yellowbrick found in a survey consisting of more than 2000 people from the Illinois Psychiatric Centre, that 70% of the respondents stated that they identified themselves only through their profession.

It is important to figure out that “Work is a part of your life that should add meaning to your life but not become the meaning of your life”.

Many people start using self-censorship and form their self-identity based on what others expect from them or want them to be like. This results in the formation of an inauthentic self-identity, which leads to a weak personal brand. Moreover, an individual’s self-identity plays an important role in his or her character building process.

Your unique self-identity along with a structured personal branding process are tools that when used in a meaningful way will also help you build your leadership skills in unexpected ways.

When I talk about leadership skills, it means so much more than building those skills for the sole purpose of only being a leader of a group.

First and foremost, it is for self-leadership, which is an extremely important skill for success in any arena.

Personal Branding= Powerful self-identity

Source- Image Group International

“Identity cannot be found or fabricated but emerges from within when one has the courage to let go” –Doug Cooper (Author)

It is important to be extremely clear on your worldviews. Unless you live your life by presenting yourself as your unique self-identity, then you will most likely fall into the trap of having unrealistic, abnormally biased and conflicting worldviews that impact on your self-identity. This can also lead to a state of denial and inauthenticity that then creates an environment where distractions like misinformation, disinformation and fake news are accepted, turning a blind eye towards logic and actual facts.  

As Sean Gourley from The Wired comments about how the advent of technology and new forms of computer warfare and disinformation campaigns are predicted to cause havoc in the near future.


Furthermore, with the amount of disinformation circling around in today’s world, how can you trust yourself that you can differentiate the facts from myths when you yourself do not even know who you really are?

Hence, an individual needs to have a strong authentic self-identity supported by a powerful personal brand in order to make correct judgements and stand out as a responsible, strong and respected leader in a world full of confusion.

Moreover, an inauthentic personal brand and a weak self-identity result in a lack of room for forming strong connections be it in a professional environment, romantic relationships or elsewhere. People like to be connected to, be around and form relationships with authentic strong individuals who have a solid personal brand, are respected and have a good reputation.

So as we have discussed, there are numerous benefits of forming a self-identity defining yourself outside of your profession. It allows you to truly understand who you are, what defines you as a person and how to express the most authentic and stand-out personal brand for you.

“An authentic personal brand combined with a strong personal branding system can make you stand out as a powerful, respected and successful leader in a world facing a severe leadership vacuum.”

Source: Image Group International

An Identity crisis stems from a diffusion of roles. With more and more people spending long hours in their professional lives, it has become increasingly difficult to have a self-identity that is not just based on your professional life. This is where it is important for an individual to go through the process of personal brand discovery and truly understand who they are, what their personal brand is and how and why their personal brand is much more than things that make up their professional life. This discovery will help them to holistically evolve and be confident of their authentic self-identity and not fall victims to an identity crisis.

An identity crisis also affects people’s relationships, hence, it is of utmost importance that you allow your authentic self-identity to flourish and re-claim what you want your authentic personal brand to be like in order to maximise all your potential all your potential and live a positive, joyful and prosperous life.


  • Jon Michail

    Image Consultant | Personal Branding Coach | Business and Personal Branding Strategist | Author | Group CEO and Founder, Image Group International |

    Image Group International are Entrepreneurial Activists… Rebels With a Cause! Jon Michail, Founder and award-winning Chief Imagemaker together with his team at Image Group International helps executives and entrepreneurs to build, grow, and monetize their personal brands, (online and offline) by positioning them to stand out so they attract their ideal clients. They are committed to maximizing an individual’s personal impact, influence, and value in the ever-changing and disruptive business environment. Image Group International is recognized as Australasia’s leading personal brand image advisory, with over 31 years of proven results.